Monday, 20 April 2015

Norwegian court to rule on six men accused of illegal wolf hunt

Landmark case pits survival of one of Europe’s smallest wolf populations against Norwegians’ cherished hunting rights
Elisabeth Ulven and Tone Sutterud in Oslo

Sunday 19 April 2015 15.33 BSTLast modified on Monday 20 April 201500.04 BST

Six men charged over hunting some of Norway’s last wolves will learn their fate this week when a court rules on a landmark case that has gripped the country.

Illegal hunting of wolves is thought to be extensive in Norway, driving down population numbers to perilously low levels.

Now, for the first time, the authorities have prosecuted an alleged hunting team, charging the six men with environmental offences and organised crime, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 11 years.

“It’s such a serious offence that we were given almost unlimited investigative powers by the state attorney,” said Tarjei Istad, a prosecutor in the case.

The indictment includes attempted illegal hunting, firearms offences and organised crime. The prosecutor has asked for a five-year ban from hunting, which is something most Norwegians see as a birthright. The defendants are pleading not guilty.

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